In Zahid Hamidi trial, witness says money paid to Dr Mahathir’s nephew through UKSB, believes it’s for political funds

(MMO) – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s name and that of ruling party Bersatu came up in court today during the corruption trial of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi over the award of a foreign visa system (VLN) contract.

The Langkawi MP, who was formerly Bersatu chairman, was suggested as an indirect recipient of financial contributions given by Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB), a local company that has been implicated in the VLN contract award.

Under questioning from the defence, UKSB administrative manager David Tan Siong Sun told the High Court that Dr Mahathir received RM2.6 million for political funding purposes through the latter’s nephew, Tan Sri Rahmat Abu Bakar.

Tan affirmed the entries he had made in a ledger he owned for bookkeeping purposes on cash payments made by UKSB to various politicians, government staff and Ahmad Zahid himself when cross-examined by defence lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal.

Tan referred to Rahmat as “Kedahan” in his ledger, which was shown to the court today.

Ahmad Zaidi: We start with the name Kedahan, who is he?

Tan: He is Tan Sri Rahmat. The nephew to Tun Dr Mahathir.

Ahmad Zaidi: RM2.6 million made to Tan Sri Rahmat?

Tan: Yes, correct.

Ahmad Zaidi: Why RM2.6 million paid to Tan Sri Rahmat?

Tan: For Dr Mahathir and Bersatu. I believe it is for a political fund.

Dr Mahathir served as Bersatu’s chairman from the party’s founding in 2016 up to February 2020.

Under cross-examination, the 17th prosecution witness also affirmed the payments – in two tranches totalling RM1.3 million each – were made after the 14th General Election in August and September 2018 respectively.

At the time, Dr Mahathir was prime minister under the Pakatan Harapan administration.

Apart from Dr Mahathir, Tan was also questioned by the defence over the purported political funding given to Pagoh MP and former home minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in 2018, totalling RM1.3 million in relation to the VLN.

Tan told the court today that RM1.3 million was handed to SHH Resources Bhd managing director Datuk Teo Wee Cheng, whom the former claimed to be a close friend of Muhyiddin.

Under questioning, Tan also confirmed that he is a director at the Pagoh-based SHH Resources.

Ahmad Zaidi: So this morning you have established that both Tun Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin have received political funds?

Tan: Yes.

Ahmad Zaidi: Datuk Seri Zahid also received political funds, do you see Tun Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin sitting beside the accused in the dock?

Tan: No.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from UKSB as an inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant and the then home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the OSCs in China and the VLN system as well as to maintain the agreement to supply VLN integrated system paraphernalia to the same company by the Home Ministry.

Ahmad Zahid was charged with another seven counts as home minister who obtained S$1.15 million, RM3 million, €15,000 and US$15,000 in cash from the same company for himself in connection with his official work.

He is accused of committing all the offences at Seri Satria, Presint 16, Putrajaya, and Country Heights, Kajang, between October 2014 and March 2018.

The trial before High Court Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa continues tomorrow.